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The Same Government?

I was having dinner with some friends the other night and was listening to one of them tell us a story about a close call that he had with a rental car a few years back.  A minor detail in the story stuck with me–he was renting a car to travel to a business meeting in a town two hours away.  At the end of his story I asked the question that had been burning in my brain, “Why were you renting a car when you have a perfectly good one (three actually) in your driveway?”  ”I didn ‘t want to put any miles on my car.” he replied.  ”And besides, our company pays for us to rent a car, so why should I put the miles on mine.”

With that the conversation shifted to another topic.  No one else seemed bothered by what seemed to me a colossal waste of money and a mind set that it was perfectly fine to do so- as long as it was someone else ‘s money being wasted.  As the only teacher at the table I could not help myself from mentally comparing the vast differences between business and public education.  The company that my friend works for deals mostly with government and military contracts.  Huge bucks.  It ‘s the same government, so why is there so much more money available for military contracts than there is for teaching kids?  And why is it allowed to be wasted on frivolous extras like unnecessary rental cars?  Why do I have to shell out of my own pocket for much needed art supplies for my class while others are allowed to spend wastefully?  As tax day draws near I am growing more resentful of a government that doesn ‘t deserve the privilege of collecting and distributing taxes.  I think more Americans would trust their elected officials if we were able to select which segment of public service or government we would like our taxes spent on.  I might mind a whole lot less knowing that 28% of my hard earned dollars are all going to education rather than to pay for a rental car from San Jose to Fresno.

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